05 May 2011

ARG: Isn't it funny

Isn't it funny how we will read scriptures that talk about men and apply them to women without question? Sometimes we even add that part in on our own...  men (and women). Yet we do not think it right to suppose that scriptures that refer to one relationship or one family could relate to another type. We can change the exclusive "man" to inclusive "people" but we can't change "wife" to " spouse" or "woman" to "man." When it comes down to it, are Christ's teachings really about specific gender couplings or are they about relationships between people? What if we focused on and applied what Christ was saying about relationships rather than on the specific one he references in a certain parable or teaching. Aren't we supposed to apply the scriptures to our own lives and our own situations?

This is the approach I take. Funny thing about my patriarchal blessing... it became more true and more relevant and more personal after coming to terms with being gay. The wording is even such that it fits much better with the life I have now chosen to live. Certain wording always confused me a little. But now, it actually makes more sense to me. The only thing that doesn't fit is the mention of a wife. It refers to my spouse as a "her." It would appear that i have two options. I either through my patriarchal blessing out, figuring it is all a bunch of bull, or accept that I have chosen a path I am not supposed to. However, there is another approach.

My patriarch was like 70 years old. While I believe he is inspired, I'm not sure that that inspiration is in the form of words. I believe that, like the way the holy ghost works, it is more direction by feeling. So when he felt inspired to talk about a significant other or spouse, his assumption, and even his experience tells him that this significant other will be a female. When we read the words of John the relevator, or Isaiah, how many times are we told that they use language that is familiar to them to describe things they may not understand or may not have had experience with? Could it not be the same with a patriarch?

Another question people sometimes have is that if I believe that my patriarchal blessing is inspired, I must believe everything. The Book of Mormon, the church, the leaders, the whole package. I used to think that too. I don't anymore because I think it is unhealthy. It is like meeting one person that is trustworthy and then assuming that everyone else must be trustworthy too. Then one day, when you find out that first person you met was a fraud, you loose faith in everyone because you trusted them based on the assumption that the first guy was good, even if some of them really are good, trustworthy, honest people.

No. I take principles and ideas one at a time. "Precept upon precept." While reading scriptures I will come upon a teaching or principle that really strikes home and rings true in my heart. That tells my that that idea is a good one. It doesn't mean everything ever written in that book is pure and unadulterated truth. When I say i believe my blessing was inspired, it doesn't mean that I believe that everything from polygamy to the blacks not holding the priesthood, to gays being damned is inspired. I take things one at a time.


Anonymous said...

What you say makes perfect sense and I claim it as Truth! I full-heartedly agree. Good work, Jonathan. :)

jen said...

Nothing in my patriarchal blessing makes sense except one paragraph. I like that one paragraph, so I've kept it. I decided I will make that one part true - and throw the rest of it out.

I don't really care if the patriarch was inspired or if he was just some old dude talking. I take what I like, and that works for me.

bradcarmack said...

That's funny, I've made the same gender-based argument before. The church is trying very hard to make the gospel give retrospective birth to defense of a particular family structure. Unfortunately, there is painfully little focus on nuclear family structures or issues in scripture, and the treatment that is there does not support the specific stances taken (such as supporting the man-woman-only-for-life marital form). Certainly the biblical families, at least, contradict this construction (satirizing this, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bCu2eGCjz4 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw&feature=related). Many suggest that the Family Proc articulates that principle and, at the brass tacks, that is the main doctrinal hurdle to same-sex marriage [though I argue that the hurdle is illusory, as the Proc refers to gender as a spiritual trait, whereas our discernment of gender is physical- see "8. God did not create all people physically male and female" at http://bradcarmack.blogspot.com/2011/01/chapter-5-moral-case-for-lds-same-sex.html]. If gender is so vital, why are women even reading the scriptures, which are stories written to men, by men, and about men? Do we presume that women cannot be exalted without being sealed, though there is no scriptural evidence for the claim (hint, the answer is yes)? Mormons have NO problem substituting the feminine for the male in scripture. Why, then, do they get in such a huff about gender when it comes to family and sex? I think inconsistency is manifest.

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